Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Pictured perfecting her act for Spraoi was Severine de Maleingreau, a hand balancer from Belgium, who performed on the streets of Waterford City during the festival at the weekend. Photo: Patrick Browne

THE Creative Ireland programme is a national initiative, which aims to encourage everyone to recognise their own creativity and to be given opportunities to experience creativity.

Each local authority, including Waterford, has appointed a Creative Ireland co-ordinator and a culture team to roll out a 2017 programme of creative activities and to produce a Culture and Creativity Strategy for 2018-2022.

Jane Cantwell, Waterford’s Creative Ireland Coordinator, says, “Creative Ireland is about being who we are and going beyond who we are. It’s about our capacity as human beings to draw on our imaginations, to create new ideas and to bring additional value to our activities.

“The drive towards unlocking creativity is based on the belief that, by participating in cultural activity, we are adding to both individual and societal wellbeing and achievement.”

Waterford’s Creative Ireland programme for 2017 includes “the arts” but is not just about the likes of music, art and literature, etc. It presents a range of new and exciting initiatives which mightn’t at first glance be seen as “cultural”. The programme uses the broadest definition of culture including: creative expression, the wide ranging creative industries including crafts, biodiversity, research and technology as well as our built and natural heritage.

Waterford’s programme this year and the annual programmes that will be developed over the next five years will be about working together to showcase all that is good about the county and about the creative individuals and communities who make Waterford unique.

Waterford has a wealth of projects, festivals and events planned for 2017, just brimming full of culture and creativity.

Having just celebrated the wonder of the street performances of the 25th Spraoi Festival and Parade, there is plenty to look forward to including Waterford Walls, Waterford Harvest Festival and the Imagine Arts Festival.

The programme also includes projects involving King of the Vikings – the world’s first Viking Virtual Reality 3D Adventure, which opened in June, Summer in the City and Artbeat, and The Waterford Greenway.

One of the most exciting projects underway is the ‘I am Waterford’ campaign, the brainchild of Sean Corcoran of The Art Hand, and supported by Creative Ireland.

It is about expressing pride and identity in a new, fresh, creative and positive way. The idea is that people will make a short selfie video using the tag ‘I am Waterford’.

One of the greatest untapped resource in this region is the people of Waterford. We are not talking about sports stars or celebrities, but ordinary Déise people.

Whether you’re from the top of the town or are part of the Waterford diaspora around the world you are invited to join ‘I am Waterford’.

Get involved with this project by doing any of the following. Join the ‘I am Waterford’ Facebook group page and invite your friends also. Take a selfie with one of the printable signs or make your own ‘I am Waterford’ sign.

Make a video of yourself or a friend saying ‘I am Waterford’. Aim for three seconds duration and post it to the Facebook page. There will be prizes each month for the best photos and videos. Check out www.iamwaterford.com.

There are plenty of other things to get involved with over the course of the year. Build Your Own Chair is a visual art, architecture and dance performance that will take place in 12 acts across 12 locations.

Waterford has a long, traditional association with glass making. The Story of Glass recounts people’s stories of their experience with this highly skilled craft.

Stop, Look and Listen on the Greenway records 20 traditional songs and oral histories along the 45km track of old railway lines now transformed into a Greenway.

Reader in Residence brings authors around libraries and communities across the county to promote reading and literacy.

Another one to get you buzzing is Bee Lines – Waterford’s plan for pollinators. This project supports Carriganore biodiversity centre, raises awareness and brings communities together to improve habitats for pollinators.

Genealogist in Residence is a partnership between Creative Waterford, Waterford Museums and Waterford Libraries, providing a walk-in centre for family research advice.

There is also a schools place names project, ‘Waterford where I live’, a project on ‘Connecting with Hard to Reach Audiences’, the creation of a creative and cultural quarter and a project that gives people a view ‘Behind Closed Doors’. Waterford’s vibrant Gaeltacht area will showcase an integral part of our county’s culture and heritage through a gala concert featuring traditional Irish musicians, singers and dancers from near and far – Ceolchoirm Dhaonscoil na Mumhan will take place in Halla Pobail na Rinne, An Rinn on Thursday, August 24 at 8pm.

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